How common are animal bites in the US?

Updated: Sep 14, 2020
  • Author: Suzanne K Doud Galli, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Animal bites account for 1% of the emergency department visits in the United States. Up to 4.5 million people are treated for animal bites each year, and children and adults in the United States together suffer an estimated 400,000 cat bites and 4.5 million dog bites, annually. [3]

Using the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, however, Holzer et al determined that between 2010 and 2014, the United States saw a reduction in the overall prevalence of dog bite injuries. [4]

Dixon and Mistry noted that after institution of a statewide stay-at-home order as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the rate of dog bite–related visits to the pediatric emergency department of their Colorado children’s hospital nearly tripled. Subsequent to relaxation of the restrictions, the investigators reported, the rate of such visits remained high. [5]

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